Thursday, July 10, 2008

McCain's Killer Health Care Plan

Sen. John McCain set off my health care alert senses when I read that he wants to segregate high risk people from everyone else. Basically treat them like leapers.

The NY Times reported “McCain announced that if elected president he would seek to insure high risk people by vastly expanding federal support for state high-risk pools like Maryland’s, or by creating a structure modeled after them." Did anyone care to tell McCain that model is going broke and raising premiums to say afloat. All the while increasing waiting times for those who are in the pool to begin with because they already have something they can’t get coverage for. Is this insane or not?

The major problem with this plan is that it ignores the concept and benefit of large insurance pools. If you spread the cost between healthy individuals and the small percentage of those who will need care, the prices will be lower and more affordable for everyone. It "spreads the risk."
That’s one of the reasons why the insurance system is broken today; companies are only insuring the healthy, raking in profits, and dumping high risk individuals into state run programs or they are left to visit hospital emergency rooms.
McCain’ plan would allow insurance companies to get the tax payers to pick up the bill for the sickest among us, while allowing the insurance industry the luxury of taking in healthy profits...I mean people. But hey, that’s the free market, right?

Though high-risk pools have existed for three decades, they cover only 207,000 people in a country with 47 million uninsured … Premiums typically are high … (but) that has left states to cover about 40 percent of the cost, usually through assessments on insurance premiums that are often passed on to consumers.

The bad parts of our current system would continue to make the health care crisis worse. For instance,Almost all of the state pools impose waiting periods of up to a year before covering the health conditions that initially made it impossible to obtain insurance. In some states, fiscal pressures have forced heavy restrictions in coverage and enrollment … 15 percent of the population is responsible for three-fourths of health care spending. Many wind up in emergency rooms, which cannot legally reject them, leaving hospitals with more than $30 billion in unpaid bills each year."

Mr. McCain’s proposal, the Guaranteed Access Plan, would be part of a market-based restructuring. The problem with this system is that it relies on a person buying insurance individually, and that eliminates a groups buying power. “Currently, those who buy insurance individually often face higher costs because their risks are not spread across broad groups of workers.”

Here's where the McCain plan goes off the rails: "In an admonition for Mr. McCain, Maryland’s five-year-old plan, like others before it, has quickly become a victim of its growth. As enrollment expanded by 30 percent in each of the last two years, actuaries forecast insolvency as soon as 2010 and compelled the plan’s board to apply the brakes. Over the last two years, it has raised premiums, deductibles and co-payments, increased out-of-pocket maximums, lowered the lifetime cap on payments and added a waiting period for pre-existing conditions, which rose to six months from two months on July 1. It also increased the amount applicants must pay to buy their way out of the waiting period. To keep it afloat, the state is raising the assessment on hospital bills that provides two-thirds of its financing. Mr. Popper, the plan’s director, said. “You either find a way to slow enrollment through economic forces or you close the plan and no one gets in, which is a solution that no one wants.”

McCain’s a real problem solver. It basically creates the same problem we have now all over again in a few years.

Now that’s a Republicans free market, for profit solution.

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